Monday, January 25, 2016


Arriving in his home town
Jesus entered the coming-together place
and addressed his people.
A wave of amazement washed over them,
and then receded almost as quickly.

No special favours, he told them.
Like it was with Elijah and Elisha,
it won't be the local people who receive the words,
or the blessings.
It'll be the outsiders, the strangers,
the foreigners and other no-hopers.

Hardly surprising, then,
that a new wave was generated;
one of anger and outrage.
This one took its time passing,
as the throng rode it malevolently
to the cliff at edge of the town;
sweeping the offender before them.

There, to their credit,
they had second thoughts,
and let him walk away.
Which proved to be a good thing
for us outsiders, strangers,
foreigners and other no-hopers.

© Ken Rookes 2016
My apologies. I posted this last week, but for some reason it saved as a draft and didn't post.

Monday, January 18, 2016

the bearers of the message

I have always loved this passage of Jesus standing up in the temple and speaking to the people. I have sort of identified with the message of justice and of love. but there have always been a bit of a danger in the message if wee take it that he is the only one bearing it. Yes, Jesus was a special bearer of the message of God's love and Justice, but he also came with the challenge to all of us to carry that mantle.
There are a few in this world who try to make out that God is the property of some and not others, or that attaining god-likeness is possible for only a few. Neither of these things are true. If God is love, then God cannot be possessed by one or even a few. It is a free gift to be shared and not owned. And to be like God we only need to love one another. This is the simple truth that Jesus so desperately tired to convey in his life. Time spent living is never wasted time. And this is not a complicated concern. Any little bit is still real love. Loving our partner or children or friends, does count. Showing some compassion to God’s world also counts. A moment lost in contemplation of the astounding beauty of God’s world is loving time. Being attentive to another is living in love. We do not have to become more wise or more strong we only have to accept the truth of the Kingdom of God that dwells in us. to quote Paul Tillich.
          "... the truth of life is in us ,with an illuminating certainty, uniting us with ourselves, giving us a great and restful happiness. And the good ,the ultimate good ...has grasped us...We have not become more moral or more saintly ; we still belong to a world which is subject to evil and self-destruction. But the good of life is in us, uniting us with the good of everything, giving us the blessed experience of universal love."

          Last night I was lying in my bed trying to think of an example to make this abstract idea come alive. You see I am sick of using Ghandi and Martin Luther King or Mother Teresa as examples. Then I realized that as I stood here today the examples of this love, this compassion, would be sitting in front of me listening to me. The person sitting here who gives part of her week every week in volunteer work . the people who work in jobs caring for others. Not because its just a job, but because that is what you have chosen to do. The people who make an active effort in whatever they do to do that bit extra in caring for others. I know most of you pretty well and I could go through you one by one and point out your compassion. I won’t do that, instead I pray that god will open your eyes, just a bit, to the work of God in you. You, in your actions are working the God-like transforming power of love. The love you show is the love of God.

Haiku Sequence: He stood up to read

In Nazareth town
an ancient text is opened,
intriguing words read.

Isaiah's promise
of good news, hope and freedom,
is spoken once more.

The parchment is rolled,
returned to the attendant;
the man sits back down.

Eyes are fixed on him.
They watch his moves, and listen;
what will he do next?

Touched by the Spirit ,
the carpenter-man proclaims:
the day has arrived.

The synagogue gasps
at his bold declaration
and foundations shake.

Jesus, local boy,
who do you think that you are
to make such a claim?

© Ken Rookes 2016

Monday, January 11, 2016

When the wine gave out

Those things that have grown weary
and no longer serve their purpose,
are to be cast aside;
their place will be taken
by the eager and determined.

The caterers' miscalculations
threaten to bring the nuptial celebrations
to a premature conclusion.

Water's cold austerity
gives way to wine by the bucketful;
joy flows abundant and free,
and the party continues.
The attendant throng is suitably amazed;
the man's mother, who provoked the action,
is merely impressed.

In the hands of her son
the wedding feast is made into
the metaphor par excellence:
life that is fruitful and expectant,
filled with hope, joy,
and laden with possibility.

© Ken Rookes 2016

Monday, January 4, 2016

The heaven was opened

The opening of heaven,
by all accounts,
was not an every-day occurrence.
At Jesus' baptism, by John,
in the flowing waters of the Jordan,
this rare event,
(according to some ancient stories),
took place. On that occasion,
we are told, heaven's stately doors
swung wide on their ethereal hinges,
allowing the divine spirit to descend
and to mingle outrageously
with that which is human.

While the record may well be incomplete,
no mention is made
of their subsequent closure.

© Ken Rookes 2016

Come to the water

The water, it dances, it gurgles and flows,
it sings alleluia, new life it bestows.
It sweeps over rapids, around unseen bends,
to vistas surprising and landscapes of friends.

This river, it eddies, it catches us all
in long graceful turnings; love’s generous swirl.
This water lives deeply, our thirst, it is quenched;
our bodies are freshened, our souls they are cleansed.

The Spirit is given, she hovers and cries
delights in the dreamings and aches with the sighs.
Surrender to the water, and hear Jesus' call
to be a disciple, and a servant to all.

Some are wrinkled from birth, some are wrinkled with age;
Hey, come to the water; whatever your page!
Drink freely, my sister, my brother, my friend;
drink deep from the fountain, of grace without end.

The water is justice, the water is peace;
it saturates living, its strivings won’t cease
Let none withhold water, the Spirit commands;
unite in one body and fulfil love's demands.

© 2016 Ken Rookes

Can be sung to the tune St Denio,
Together in Song 143, AHB 80

I have reworked this from an older poem/song. The original was suited to an actual baptism, this has a more general use, such as for the Baptism of Jesus, this coming Sunday. I think it has been markedly improved.

The storm

Haiku of stillness After a long day telling stories, parables, Jesus needs a break. Suggests a boat trip. Let us cross the lake; ...